Cathay Pacific claws back capacity amid flat demand

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Photo: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has continued to benefit from the easing of quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong and the return of its full freighter schedule but suffered from flat demand during the summer.

Overall figures reflected a challenging market, but the airline operated 59% of its pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity in August, said chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam.

The airline carried 104,851 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 15.6% compared to August 2021, and a 35% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.

The month’s cargo revenue tonne km (RFTKs) decreased 23.3% year on year, and were down 35.1% compared to August 2019.

The cargo load factor decreased by 10.7 percentage points to 67%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne km (AFTKs), was down by 11.1% year on year, and was down by 41.1% versus August 2019.

In the first eight months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 8% against a 25.4% drop in capacity and a 32.4% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

Lam said: “In terms of cargo, we operated a full freighter schedule in August, which was supported by increased passenger flights as well as regional cargo-only passenger flights.

“While our overall cargo flight capacity was down 11% compared with the same period last year, this was because we operated a significant number of long-haul cargo-only passenger flights at that time.

“Overall, we operated 59% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity in August. Demand has remained flat throughout the summer months, but we have continued to make all preparations to ensure smooth operations as we step into the cargo peak season.”

He added that the airline projected by the end of the year to be able to operate about “two-thirds of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity”.

Earlier this month, Cathay was preparing for a muted peak season.

It has continued to face operating challenges as it builds up its capacity.

Cathay Pacific prepares for muted cargo peak season

Cathay Pacific Cargo predicts muted peak season

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